by Brianna Crandall — April 8, 2020 — Self-driving Danish disinfection robots were shipped to more than 2,000 hospitals in China in February to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, as the result of an agreement between Sunay Healthcare Supply and the Danish company UVD Robots. With ultraviolet light, the Danish robot can disinfect and kill viruses and bacteria autonomously, effectively limiting the spread of coronaviruses while reducing exposure of hospital staff and patients to the risk of infection.
Through Sunay Healthcare Supply’s partners in China, the disinfection robots were deployed first in hospitals at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, and eventually in all Chinese provinces. “With this agreement, more than 2,000 hospitals will now have the opportunity to ensure effective disinfection, protecting both their patients and staff,” said Su Yan, CEO of Sunay Healthcare Supply, a medical equipment supplier to the Chinese market.
Currently sold in more than 40 countries, UVD Robots has delivered a large number of units in recent months to areas around the world most affected by COVID-19, such as other parts of Asia, Italy and other countries in Europe, and the United States.
The invention increases the safety of staff, patients and their relatives by reducing the risk of contact with bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms. The concentrated UV-C light emitted by the robots as they drive has a germicidal effect that removes virtually all airborne viruses and bacteria on the surfaces of a room — results that led to the UVD robot winning the robotics industry’s “Oscar” — the IERA Award — in 2019, and the euRobotics’ Technology Transfer Award in 2020.
Developed by large group of collaborators from hospital and robotics industries
The development of the UVD robot started in 2014, when a group of Danish hospitals demanded a far more effective way of reducing infection rates in hospitals — in Denmark alone, every year 50,000 patients get a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), and more than 1,000 patients die as a direct consequence. The fruitful collaboration between bacteriologists, virologists and hospital staff from hospitals, and robot developers, designers, engineers, investors and businesspeople from Blue Ocean Robotics, led to an early market introduction in 2018.
Claus Risager, CEO of Blue Ocean Robotics and chairman of the Board of UVD Robots, calls it a tremendous satisfaction for employees, management and the circle of owners to witness the deployment of the UVD Robot:
We are now helping solve one of the biggest problems of our time, preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses with a robot that saves lives in hospitals every day.
According to the company, the UVD robot has been clinically tested and verified at Odense University Hospital and by independent microbiological laboratories.
UVD Robots is a portfolio company in Blue Ocean Robotics, which develops, produces and sells a wide range of professional service robots primarily in healthcare, hospitality, construction and agriculture.